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"The World Doesn't Have to Suffer Through Poor Software," Says Robertson
"The World Doesn't Have to Suffer Through Poor Software," Says Robertson

No one says it quote like Michael Robertson:

"It's a sad time when people are afraid of their own computers, but that's where Microsoft Windows users are at currently," he writes in his latest weekly effusion from the Lindows Inc. worldwide headquarters in San Diego, CA.

"It's reminiscent of Hal from Space Odyssey," Robertson continues. "Computer owners fear that if they launch the wrong program, visit a 'bad' Web site or simply view an e-mail, they will trigger an unstoppable torrent of e-mails and virus spewing from their computer."

He goes on to a recount personal experience: 

"I was in the SIPphone offices the other day to test some new SIP software on a Microsoft Windows XP box. I spent half of my time closing unwanted popups, which bombarded the screen. All the while, this very new computer (less then a week old) was operating very slowly. Later on, we discovered that this computer had virus issues. I'm not sure how people running Microsoft computers get their work done, since they need to be constantly vigilant about installing software patches and updating virus software."

The answer, Robertson asserts is simple: "switch to a desktop Linux machine."

"By abandoning Microsoft Windows XP," he says, "you can get back to using your computer as a tool to get work done in your business or in your home. Many Lindows employees spend their weekends installing Linspire for their neighbors and friends who are desperate to be rid of the virus nightmare which seems to have no end."

"My message," concludes Robertson, "is that the world doesn't have to suffer through poor software which invites hackers, like Microsoft Outlook. Desktop Linux is a viable alternative."

Of course, he cannot resist mentioning one Linux desktop in particular:

"If you know someone who fears using their computer or is disgusted with viruses help them out, buy them a copy of Linspire."

But then who could blame him for mixing a little business with his message to the virus-afflicted world?

 

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SYS-CON's Linux News Desk gathers stories, analysis, and information from around the Linux world and synthesizes them into an easy to digest format for IT/IS managers and other business decision-makers.

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Reader Feedback: Page 1 of 1

Linux is intrinsically more secure because it's open source. Linux is used in so many universities all over the world that there are too many professors and researchers looking over the code for a dangerous weak spot to grow. Windows, on the other hand, is known only by a few programmers in Redmond. It's a combination of two factors: fewer eyes looking at the code and monoculture.

A team of programmers in a commercial company distributes the work in the most cost-effective way, so that each person in the team specializes in a section of the code. There is little cross-checking if any. In open source, OTOH, there are people with different backgrounds verifying the code, independently.

That's the same reason why crackers find weak spots in software, they verify details that the programmers who created the software never thought about checking. In open source there is a balance of forces that's strongly biased to "good", instead of "evil", because the "black hats" are more often immature teens while the "white hats" are university professors. In commercial software, the balance of forces tends more to the "evil" side, because of the larger number of people in the black hats.

I really don't like Microsoft.
But saying

Linspire pegs all the blame for virus problems on Microsoft and basically says that Linux (well, Lindows anyway) is the cure

strikes me as wrongheaded. The problems with Microsoft/virus issue are all legacy issues. If you think about it, all Microsoft code is based on a pre-Internet OS. It really isn't geared to the Internet to day. It's kind of like why pre-'70s (US) cars may not need to meet modern pollution codes. This does not make it right. But Microsoft itself is too monolithic to respond properly.

Also the users that are having the problems are all the "unwashed masses" that don't know to patch their systems properly and to pratice safe web surfing. They need to be educated.

The irony is that Lindows will probably be one of the driving forces in getting Linux viruses popular. By marketing the software to those who are less computer-savvy while making the root user the default user, Lindows is opening up the door for some nasty widespread security exploits. Some of the reasons why viruses have not been a problem under Linux so far has been due to smaller desktop market penetration, heterogeneity, the computer literacy of those who run Linux, and the restricted account privileges of the user. Lindows threatens all of those factors.




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